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Why Eagles extended Cole, Herremans

The Philadelphia Eagles are acting as though free agency isn't happening, eschewing the high-profile visits other teams are having with veteran players and so far sitting out the early part of the process. What they are doing instead is signing some of their own players to contract extensions.

Tuesday, it was right tackle Todd Herremans who got a three-year extension that will take him through 2016. And on Wednesday, the Eagles announced a four-year extension for defensive end Trent Cole that will take him through 2017.

Now, you guys know how I feel about Cole. I think he's one of the very best all-around players in the league at his position, and I don't think a team would need a reason to want to lock him up on a long-term deal. Cole has earned his new contract with his play, and there's little reason to doubt he'll continue to play at his accustomed high level.

But it's no coincidence that the two players who got extensions in Philadelphia this week were two guys whose contracts were set to expire at the end of 2013. That's the scary year, you see, for free agency, because the new TV deals are all set to begin in the 2014 league year, and because of that the salary cap (which is tied to revenues) is expected to skyrocket that year and in the years that follow. So if you have a cornerstone player whose contract runs through 2013, it's a pretty smart idea to get him signed now. Because the market that opens two years from this week has a chance to be a lot loonier and a lot more expensive than the one with which we're dealing today.